© Rainbow Network
by Winton Cassels
In just four months Christchurch Doctor Wendy Isbell has created a whole new system of flower essences – the result of strong inspiration and very hard work. It was while Wendy, a conventional medical doctor and homoeopath, was visiting San Francisco last August, that it became clear to her that she must develop a new system of flower essences.
"I felt very jangled and terribly homesick and couldn't cope with the energies in the San Francisco Bay area", says Wendy, who was in the American city to attend a course. "I couldn't understand how the people there could do such high spiritual work in those energies. I hadn't realised how uplifting New Zealand energies are. It's partly to do with the environment here and partly to do with the energies and the people who are drawn here."
For the best part of two days Wendy stayed alone in her hotel room. Then, while examining some New Zealand calendars she had brought with her to give to course leaders, the idea came to develop the essences.
"I returned to Christchurch and immediately began gathering flowers from a friend's garden, starting with my favourite flower, a King Alfred Daffodil. I worked day and night, getting up at five every morning to see what the weather was like. I spent most of Sunday collecting flowers and followed by intuition." As well as gathering the flowers, Wendy took photographs for people to use as a meditative aid and to increase the understanding of the essences. She fitted the work in around her homoeopathic practice.
"Every now and again, I reminded myself that Edward Bach (the English Doctor who developed the first flower essences) took a life-time to develop his essences so why should I expect to do it in four months?"
Wendy's Bealey Avenue rooms are modest and friendly. Waiting clients are able to flip through spiritual growth books and alternative health journals. "I see a wide range of people. Some would not be seen dead in any alternative place but are so desperate they'll try anything and others are just wanting to come for personal improvement and spiritual growth. I don't talk about things unless people are interested, because if they are interested it comes from them anyway and then I can resonate with it."
|"You have to have space to use your intuition"|
|"I don't talk about things unless people are interested"|
|"The more effective I am the higher I get"|
Wendy trained as a doctor in Christchurch and Otago, graduating in 1970. She says "I knew I wanted to do something psychosomatic, so I started off doing joint training in medicine and psychiatry and then went overseas and sat my English membership. But when I came back to New Zealand I was pregnant and did not want to go through the registrar training, so I did my advanced training in geriatrics."
By the 1980's Wendy had built the foundations of a successful career in medicine. "I certainly hadn't planned my interest in homoeopathy because I was full of the medical bias that it couldn't work. But after I had my children, I suffered from post partum depression – to such a degree that I was unable to work for a number of years."
It was during this time that ads for rebirthing caught Wendy's attention and after investigating she discovered the whole relationship between mind and body. "But this therapy wasn't something that could fit into my medical practice easily. Then somebody recommended that I look at homoeopathy as it involved both medicine and the intuitive process.
"I started reading homoeopathic books and started treating myself and my family. I did further training and attended as many courses as I could as well as studying by correspondence."
Wendy began her practice from home and then shifted into her rooms and gradually made the leap of faith and moved into homoeopathy full time five years ago. She said she relished her position in the often uneasy middle ground between the worlds of conventional and alternative medicine.
"One of the things I realised after reading Clan of the Cave Bear was that if you were going to be a medicine woman you have to have space to use your intuition – you have to stand and walk on your own.
"After reading some of Stuart Wilde's books, which talk of the warrior sage , I have realised that the more I can stay in my own reality, the more effective I am and the higher I get, - and the happier and more useful I am."
The 83 Christchurch essences, plus a relief essence, are designed to capture the healing properties of the flowers of Christchurch, known as the garden city. The essences are liquid, potentised plant preparations which carry an imprint of specific flowers and are prepared in much the same way as Bach Flower Essences. They treat emotional and physical disorders and address higher and finer energies. Wendy says her essences reflect how people have moved from essences offering simple healing to those offering spiritual growth.